2017 is important – The Year Of Sustainable Tourism

Did you know that the United Nations, under the leadership of the UN world tourism organisation (UNWTO) have declared 2017 the International Year of Sustainable Tourism? Even though sustainable tourism is still no just ‘normal’, but it is the future. More and more travelers worldwide are seeking for eco friendly and socially acceptable destinations and hotels and do not want to calm their green awareness with a cup of Fairtrade coffee. However, what exactly implies sustainable tourism or conscious travelling? Which criteria, for example, must a hotel meet to operate a property in a sustainable way? In general sustainable tourism must be environment friendly and fair for all involved people. Sustainability is based on three pillars: Environment, social factors and economy. There are about 200 different certificates and labels on the market. How can a traveler find these unique green hotels and destinations in the plenty of touristic offers?

Act sustainable and talk about it

Already in 2012, Green Pearls® Unique Places has perceived the trend towards sustainable tourism and offers a collection of more than 100 hotels and destinations worldwide who are following a sustainable approach. All these hand-picked hotels operate intrisically according to their green philosophy. Their mission is the preservation and the protection of the environment for the following generations. The requirements of Green Pearls ® Unique Places are based on the criteria of the Worldwide Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC). The following factors (whereabout 80 per cent has to be covered) are relevant for the assessment: Management plan, architecture, environment, water consumption, garbage management, housekeeping, food, social compatibility, social projects, cultural obligations and communication to the guest. We show you good examples how different ‘green’ tourism can be practiced.

The Coral Line Projekt

In March, 2014 the marine biologist Vaidotas Kirsys initiated the Coral Line project at Gili Lankanfushi. The Gili Lankanfushi became the first resort on the Maldives to use a sytem with low technology, but much success to let corals grow. In May of the same year the marine biologist Deborah Burn joined the team to improve and develop the project with her immense professional competence until today. Coral reefs belong to the most threatened and richest biodiverse ecosystems of the world. With a conscious behavior everybody can contribute to the protection the coral reefs.

Climate-neutral town trip

The Creativhotel Luise in Erlangen was founded in 1956 and is today managed by the third generation. It is known as a forerunner of the green hotel industry in Germany. 28-year-old Ben Förtsch continues the pioneer work of his parents by adding modern ideas of sustainability. With only 9.78 kg CO2 per stay and night, this is about one third of the average consumption of a hotel of the three-star category, this corresponds to the best climate-efficiency class A.
The hotel proves sustainabilty in practice with their renewable hotel rooms with renewable raw materials. Thus, for example, all carpets, curtains or taps are either recyclable are or biodegradable.

Sustainable countries – a dream?

To implement Sustainable Tourism within a destination is a big challenge. The East Frisian Island Juist and Thailand show how different the approaches can be. Juist aims to be climate-neutral till 2030: No cars but horse carriages and bicycles, sustainable garbage prevention and disposal, tap water instead of imported glass bottles, even a “green” child university to educate aready the smallest in sustainability. Thailand is from the ecological view in a lot of parts still rather a developing country. However the responsible actors in the touristc industry and government are aware and know that mass tourism will not be the future. A way in the right direction is the so-called “Community based Tourism” – from and with locals. Whether it is spending the night at Homestays, market visits with a local cook, learning the traditional dances with former active dancers. Locals receive a large part of the income, travelers participate in unforgettable experiences which are remembered for a long time.